Sunday, December 09, 2012

The War on Superman’s Underpants

[Thanks to Umbra]
The War on Superman’s Underpants, article.

When creating - and outfitting - the first superhero, Shuster was starting from scratch, and the closest version to what he had in mind was circus strongmen. This makes sense to me. Of, course, the modern argument against super-briefs is that old-time-y strongmen don't exist anymore, and today no one knows what they looked like or why superheroes are dressed like them. So take off those knickers, right?
I say thee nay!

I agree. If for no other reason than they have not yet managed to make a new-age costume which does not look silly or ugly. The latter applies in my mind to what's apparently the costume in the next Superman movie, ugh:

Much as I often favor grey as an artist, for the neutrality, on a superhero costume, it really does not work.  At least not on one like Superman, whose very essence, due to his invulnerability and his symbolism of Hope, is meant to be as flashy as possible.

Admittedly it is very difficult to make the comic book costumes translate well to the higher reality of movies. I don't think they really have found the formula yet. Batman perhaps comes closest (I just watched Dark Knight Rises, good one), though I think they tend to over-complicate them.


Dave Nielsen said...

they have not yet managed to make a new-age costume which does not look silly or ugly

It's harder to do than it might seem, which gives a greater appreciation for Jack Kirby's genius since he came up with so many of them. Ditko's Spider-Man - can you imagine what they would come up with today? It's partly too because of the audience of comic books. When they're for kids you can still do them in a way that pleases adults but now they've become too self important and grim, they're trying way too hard. In fact that's why I still prefer the Burton Batman to Nolan's because while Burton's is a bit dated (and Batman not being able to turn his head was always stupid) they managed some humor in the whole thing.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Oh, I agree, Burton's Batman movies were fantastic. The humor, the designs, everything. (Except the Pinguin.)
I just watched a long docu on Batmobiles through history, and the Burton one may be my favorite. The next couple were beautiful, but very complex. And the Tumbler is kewl, but not really a Batmobile.

Good point re Ditko's Spider-Man. Nobody would have come up with such a design today. Not in tone, and not the talent, it's an actual design.

By the way, just thought of Frank Miller going back to the old costume without a yellow circle, just the black bat, he said it was better "by virtue of being simpler".